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Turkey's Erdogan Offers Condolences Over WWI Killings Of Armenians

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has offered condolences to descendants of the victims of the mass killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians during World War I by Ottoman forces.

In an April 23 statement released in nine languages, including Armenian, Erdogan said, "The incidents of the First World War are our shared pain."

Erdogan said he hoped "the peoples of an ancient and unique geography, who share similar customs and manners will be able to talk to each other about the past with maturity."

Erdogan added that "we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early 20th century rest in peace."

It is believed to be the first time a Turkish prime minister has offered such explicit condolences.

Erdogan's statement comes on the eve of Remembrance Day, which Armenians around the world mark to honor those who died in what Armenians call a genocide.

Turkey rejects the term genocide, saying thousands of Turks also were killed in fighting.
Based on reporting from AFP and AP